I’ve been catching up on my notes and publishing a few reviews as I find them. One such is The Family, which I had almost forgotten about until I was reminded of it in a conversation. My earlier post here was of Predestination, a film which I almost overlooked, except for the cast caught my attention, this one caught my attention straight away when it was released. With Robert De Niro (The Godfather Part II, 1974) and Michelle Pfeiffer (People Like Us, 2012) leading the charge as the husband and wife team leading their family to various safe-houses for their own protection after turning against their mob background. They are supported by Tommy Lee Jones (Men In Black, 1997) a long suffering US Federal Agent who must ensure their safety, something which is a lot easier said than done, given the Blake family’s inability to put mob-style habits behind
The family is completed by son, Warren (John D’Leo, Wonderlust, 2012) who together with his sister Belle (Dianna Agron, Glee 2009) must settle in to a new school, by now this is “old-school”. Quickly both apply their talents to settling in. Warren has a knack for identifying potentially financially rewarding situations while his sister proves to be more than able to look after herself, either with the local boys who want to get to know her or some of the more light fingered students.
What we have is a comedy of errors, associated with the family trying to settle into rural France, Normandy to be exact. As various challenges crop up, they must struggle to cope with them as a normal family rather than apply mob-style solutions.
This can have its own difficulties, but with the family being hunted by the Mob, things get even more difficult. Eventually just as the family is starting to settle in , after the barbeque, the pummeling of a plumber who tried to rip them off and the father, Frank, sinking himself in it by describing himself as a history writer and sparking the interest of the village movie club.
The Mob get to find the family and descend on the sleepy village removing the police and fire-brigade before they attack the family, unfortunately for the mob hit men, they are recognized by the kids traveling to the house what ensues is a typical Besson style action sequence, namely one which has no reflection on reality but is fun to watch.
To sum-up “The Family” is a lighthearted romp through the often cliched mafia movie genre. De Niro has settled in to the comedy role as he matures, a role which suits him, hopefully we will get a few more. This film is never going to win best movie or any of number of would-be awards but it is entertaining and delivers what it set out to do. When you get a Besson film, you get entertainment and fun, not necessarily always too conventionally, but always in a way that enures things get blown up and people die loudly.
A safe *** movie.
2 thoughts on “The Family”
As much as I adore Michelle Pfeiffer I’ve held off from watching “The Family” but after reading your article I think I might pick it up on DVD.
It does sadden me more than a little to see the decline of De Niro and Pfeiffer’s fortunes over recent years. I’ve grown up watching Michelle and even though we’ve both got older, she remains transcendent. Somehow her recent roles feel like someone’s put a lampshade on the brightest light in the room.
Thanks for the comment – this is a rainy day movie – nothing wrong with it, per se, but yes it does have Pfeiffer and De Niro playing below their level – If there were other actors involved we might be happy with the movie, also I felt it was a bit tame given that it was a Besson movie – maybe there were editing issues…? cheers